A journey to be proud of
That’s been my proudest career achievement actually: being appointed as General Manager at AAH Birmingham. As I literally started off as a Warehouse Operative, it felt a huge deal to be able to go back to manage the overall operation in entirety.
There are a number of colleagues onsite that have also been in the distribution centre across my journey from day one, and I feel proud and humbled that I can now call them my staff and colleagues. I think it’s inspiring that the business is willing to take people from shop floor level right through the ranks, to whatever level they may choose to go.
Responsibility for end-to-end operation
My current role is that of General Manager for AAH Nexus Point Birmingham, which is the southern regional distribution centre for the UK. My position gives me overall responsibility for the end-to-end operation of the site. Day-to-day, my activities include understanding and managing key elements of the distribution centre’s performance, including health and safety, financials, supply chain and people matters. Making sure I’m visible around floor operations onsite is very important, and something I like to do every day.
I have spent a huge amount of time within what I call my home distribution centre at Birmingham, which I believe now really supports my passion about the site as a General Manager. This has been really important for me, as it’s meant I’ve been able to grow and enhance my career while staying in my home city around my family and friends.
Good people get opportunities
On lots of occasions I’ve found that the roles I’ve moved into almost found me. From personal experience, I’m a firm believer that good people with the correct coaching, development conversations and on-the-job experience, will find opportunities presenting themselves to them. All there was for me to do was ensure I capitalised on the opportunities available.
I’ve taken what I believe to be a quite logical career path through a distribution centre. The only departure has been in taking the opportunity to widen my skill base into the engineering and systems arena. I’ve always had a desire to explore and develop that side of things, ever-conscious of our evolving technological world.
Acquiring skills and knowledge
My skills and knowledge have been acquired and developed across various ways within AAH. These include formal training through workshops, courses and qualifications, informal training through coaching and mentoring sessions, and lastly (and I believe most importantly) on-the-job training. I’ve also had some secondment positions and interim placements, to allow safe levels of exposure to new environments and accountability.
I’ve gained a number of qualifications too, including an NVQ in engineering and Open University Certificate & Diploma in Management Studies. The support from the business was not only financial in respect of funding and time, but also in coaching and encouraging development. This allowed me to push and believe in myself, especially when it comes to balancing additional learning on top of a busy day job.
Over time I have personally been coached and mentored by a number of individuals. While very few of these were formally recognised as coaches and mentors, in most cases they gave just as much value. Those sessions and relationships have been really supported by the business –and is something I really encourage, to ensure rounded development in things like behavioural, attitude and softer skills.
They have also been a really good tool for me to ensure I have a safe soundboard, and an environment for me to just get things off my chest if things are difficult or demanding.
Aiming for the top
My career goals are quite simply to keep progressing. I believe in this business, and now also that we’re growing constantly, I feel I can keep my career imagination open far and wide. I see no reason why aiming for the top is an ambition too far, as long as I stay grounded in the today and ensure I give back to the business through the skills, development and responsibility it instils in me.